Monday, July 09, 2012

The South Has Risen Again

Unless you have been unconscious for the last 15 years or so you have probably noticed that the right/GOP is getting meaner and meaner. I, for one, didn't recognize what had happened to shift us into reverse when it comes to the average person's "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I should have since I am a son of the South and have seen the Southern aristocratic mentality in play all my life. It was a real "ta da" experience when I read Sara Robinson's analysis over at Alternet:
When a Southern conservative talks about "losing his liberty," the loss of this absolute domination over the people and property under his control -- and, worse, the loss of status and the resulting risk of being held accountable for laws that he was once exempt from -- is what he's really talking about. In this view, freedom is a zero-sum game. Anything that gives more freedom and rights to lower-status people can't help but put serious limits on the freedom of the upper classes to use those people as they please. It cannot be any other way. So they find Yankee-style rights expansions absolutely intolerable, to the point where they're willing to fight and die to preserve their divine right to rule.
I really think this is a must-read if one wants to understand the giant shift that has taken place in the country in the recent pass. The hate and vitriol launched at President Obama actually tells us a lot about the reality of this frightening shift. I may be biased because of my life experience but I find this a very credible analysis of the power shift in this country. Those of us in the middle and lower class are being denied more liberty, justice and the opportunities to live a rewarding life every day. Education, basic social safety nets and myriad other things are being systematically attacked by the right. It does harken back to the plantation days and the relationship between the slaves, sharecroppers and plantation owners. The Tea Party driven GOP and warped conservative mobs want us at their mercy. They want us so desperate for food, shelter....everything that we will be grateful for any scraps that they let fall from their table. They want us afraid to upset the apple cart for fear of losing what meager scraps they distribute. It's ugly and seemingly more so daily.
In the old South, on the other hand, the degree of liberty you enjoyed was a direct function of your God-given place in the social hierarchy. The higher your status, the more authority you had, and the more "liberty" you could exercise -- which meant, in practical terms, that you had the right to take more "liberties" with the lives, rights and property of other people. Like an English lord unfettered from the Magna Carta, nobody had the authority to tell a Southern gentleman what to do with resources under his control. In this model, that's what liberty is. If you don't have the freedom to rape, beat, torture, kill, enslave, or exploit your underlings (including your wife and children) with impunity -- or abuse the land, or enforce rules on others that you will never have to answer to yourself -- then you can't really call yourself a free man.
I guess the real question that comes to mind is...will it take Civil War II to shift us back to some reasonable state? It is looking more and more like something radical needs to take place or we are doomed.

h/t Crooks and Liars


karmanot said...

Well done FM. In my opinion we've been in Civil War for sometime now.

LeftLeaningLady said...

I will go read the entire Alternet article, as discouraging and disheartening as it was to read an excerpt here. I am thankful though that someone else has noticed the increased vitriol from the right that seems to be in direct proportion to the color of the President's skin. I am accused of "throwing the race card" a lot, but I have a difficult time not calling a person a racist when they continue with the 'birther' BS and have nothing against the President except his alleged place of birth. Great post.

LeftLeaningLady said...

And I figured out the comment issue. :-)

larkohio said...

I am with everyone else here.  Great post, and at the same time, I hate the bigotry and "I am better than you" mentallity.

Gasho said...

I clicked through to the article and it made me feel so so sad. This theory captures the current state of affairs and the direction we're moving better than most.. which is to say that we are in BIG trouble.

I have to suppose that the Hegelian Dialectic won't stop here, however, and that we'll continue to flip flop our way into the future with new, unforseen paradigms unfolding one after another.

Thanks for the post. Love the garden stuff, too.  I've been coming on and off for years.

Much Peace,